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PROFILE

Aaron Byrd Host

KCRW DJ

Aaron Byrd has always had a desire and curiosity to seek out new experiences, people, places and, most of all, music. Having visited 17 countries (so far) and spending at least three hours a day listening to new music, it's safe to say music and travel are his biggest passions in life.

His attraction to the unknown and thirst for discovery has fueled an eclectic and expansive taste in music, from the underground hip hop scene the LA native explored as a teenager to his love of Guaguanco from Cuba.

An Engineering major at UCLA, it's not surprising that he likes to dig into the roots of where things begin, from tango to trip hop. He fuses musical connections across all borders, boundaries and timelines because what he looks for is more than a catchy beat.

“I see music as an extension of human emotion and the songs I am drawn to most have a subtle sense of euphoria. Something that is not overwhelmingly bold, but undeniably powerful.”

Byrd learned his DJ skills from the best of them – KCRW's own Garth Trinidad. He became a loyal fan of the station while in college and, after paying his dues as a volunteer at the front desk, he found a mentor in Trinidad while working in the studio during his show.

Since his start at KCRW in 2007, Byrd has appeared on the front page of the New York Times and in both the LA Times and LA Weekly. He is called on to curate a wide range of events around town, from post-performance events at the LA Opera to a weekly live performance series at a boutique West Hollywood hotel.

As a DJ, Byrd has opened for Groove Armada, James Blake, Fat Freddy's Drop, Little Dragon, and Jose James and is regularly featured at clubs around town.

FROM Aaron Byrd

Design and Architecture

Deconstructing Kanye Kanye West loves architecture. Aminatou Fall, left, helps tour Kanye West, second from right, around the SCI-Arc spring 2018 student show. Is this good news for a profession little understood by the general public, and long lacking in diversity? Or do his recent provocations about slavery (a choice) and President Trump (with whom West shares “dragon energy”) invalidate his interest in the built environment? DnA talks to Brentin Mock, staff writer for CityLab, who recently wrote that unlike his beats and sneakers (which are “dope”), real estate development by Kanye West would be as ill-advised as his sweatsuits (which are “hideous”). KCRW DJ Aaron Byrd explains why West’s slavery comments were so offensive while cautioning that West is human, with “some issues with communicating,” and “it doesn't mean that he doesn't have value” in the architecture and design space but “whether or not his message will be heard because of the context with which he's presenting them is a different story.” Aminatou Fall is a student at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and was one of West’s guides when he dropped by the school student show. She describes the experience of meeting him as mixed on many levels, from appreciation for his interest in the work at the school, and curiosity about the potential for creativity at Yeezy Home, to concern at his remarks. As for whether West might help raise the profile of architecture within the African-American community, “right now people are very turned off by him because of how problematic he's been lately. But eventually this could be something positive.” Kanye West tweeted a picture of himself wearing a Make America Great Again hat.

17 MIN, 8 SEC May 15, 2018

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